The Lipscomb Lady Bison practiced what coach Kristin Ryman has been preaching.
Saturday afternoon, in day two of the Lady Bison Classic at Draper Diamond, they pounded out 12 hits for an 11-3 win over Eastern Michigan in five innings. It was the third time this season the Lady Bison have won a game due to the 8-run rule lead.
Ryman has been telling her team that it is necessary to play until the final out regardless of the score. She got that type of effort against Eastern Michigan.
“That game wasn’t perfect by any means,” Ryman said. “But we kept at it. We kept playing. We didn’t let one little mistake totally throw us out of synch.
“We played a full game to the final out. We had that cutthroat attitude.”
The Lady Bison, 13-6, have won their last five games and are 6-0 at Draper Diamond. Eastern Michigan slipped to 6-12. It was the first time the Lady Bison had played Eastern Michigan in softball.
“Eastern Michigan is a good team,” Ryman said. “They are scrappy. They are going to make things happen. They are going to put balls in play. They challenged us more than the score showed.”
In the second inning the Lady Bison scored four runs as Haley Elliott, Mollie Mitchell, Whitney Kiihnl, Bree Thurman and Rena’ Cothron all reached base on well-placed singles.
The Lady Bison added another run in the third, with Mitchell scoring on a bases-loaded walk.
In the fourth they struck for four more. Mitchell, who scored three times, drove in her second run of the game with a single through the left side. Bridgette Begle bunted for a single to bring in Elliott who had walked to reach base. Kiihnl had the big hit of the inning and the game with a triple to left center that brought home Mitchell and Begle.
In the fifth the Lady Bison closed out the game with two runs. Kelsey Cartwright singled to third with one out. Caroline Mason doubled. Elliott and Mitchell both walked. Mitchell’s walk allowed Cartwright to score. Kristen Sturdivant singled to center to send in Mason with the game-ending run.
“There weren’t any gigantic home runs,” Ryman said. “There were some hard line drives and some hard grounders that got through the infield. It is good to see we can win games and win games big without relying on a lot of home runs.”
Kiihnl led the Lady Bison with three hits and three runs batted in. Thurman, Cothron and Mitchell each had two RBI.
“Whitney has the pop in her bat,” Ryman said. “She had a great day hitting-wise and really sparked us at the bottom of the order. That is neat to see. You don’t always have that spark in the nine-hole.
“She is one of our faster players, if not the fastest. She is one of those who is finding ways to get on base and make things happen.”
Eastern Michigan scored one run in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth. Jessica Richards had the only extra base hit for Eastern Michigan, a double down the left field line in the fifth inning.
Kiihnl improved to 12-3. She allowed four hits and walked three. She struck out four. She needs only three strikeouts to become only the third pitcher in the history of the Atlantic Sun to reach 1,000 strikeouts.
Eastern Michigan used three pitchers. Starter Lindsay Rich, who gave up four runs and four hits in 1.1 innings, took the loss and fell to 0-5. Jenna Ignowski scattered seven hits and allowed seven runs, six earned. Jessica Wilkes closed out the game.
“Both teams were trying to work the count and really make things happen,” Ryman said. “We just continue to hit the ball well. We are attacking the ball as good right now as I have seen us. We look confident and sharp at the plate.”
The Lady Bison close out the Classic Sunday with a pair of games. They face Alabama State at 1:15 and MTSU at 3:30.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.